Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America

6 Sep

White Power: The Colonial Situation


Stokely Carmichael started his revolutionary fight as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He quickly rose in the ranks to become field organizer with the task of getting Blacks in Alabama registered to vote. After receiving little recognition, Carmichael started his own political party, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, where he adopted the Black panther as their mascot, to represent the group. He chose this symbol because of the cats intelligent, powerful and protective nature. 2010-black-history-month-final-4-728In 1966, Carmichael was elected chairman of SNCC, however due to the group’s lack of progress, he soon lost faith in the non-violent resistance movement. He then began to promote Black power as the way to change the inferior position Blacks held in society, and joined forced with the militant revolutionary group, the Black Panthers. However, his stay in the Black Panther Party was short-lived. In 1969, he left the party and moved to Guinea, where he spent the rest of his life emphasizing the importance of Black unity and Pan-Africanism. Carmichael later changed his name to Kwame Ture, in honor of Guinea’s president.


412zc2mbsql-_sy344_bo1204203200_Knowing Kwame Ture’s history, we can understand his push for Black Nationalism. In the opening chapters of Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, Ture and his coauthor Charles Hamilton, discussed institutionalized racism and offer advice on how this system can be dismantled. The authors encourage readers to develop a new sense of consciousness that is based on Black people working together to put an end to systematic oppression. However, the book explicitly states that there is no rule book to tearing down this hegemonic institution which we have come to call racism. With that being said, the authors proclaim that Black people must stand up and demand he right to coexist in this society. Black people should no longer have to roll over and accept societies racist rules for us. We need to all out their privilege, because our silence reinforces their actions. The authors vividly express their disgrace for white Supremacist Patriarchal Heteronormative Capitalism.

The book describes multiple forms of racism as being the corner stone of white hegemony. f763bef3b05bbb85363df19853864012The authors also associate racism with colonialism, which has laid out the foundation for Black inferiority in society since the institution of slavery. Historically, Blacks have not had access to owning land or businesses. This framework has altered the social, political and economic status in society for Blacks, preventing them from getting a “leg up” on whites. Blacks have been placed on this hamster wheel of an economic system, where they have never been able to reduce the cost of their overall living. Blacks have been victims of gerrymandering, extreme taxation, high interest rates, forced to pay high prices for low quality goods, poor education, low paying jobs, and higher housing costs. All of these are a result of the white power structure.

Another effect of racism is what the authors call “indirect rule” (10), where white society designates a select few number of Blacks to be included into their power structure, and are given the task of reinforcing white hegemony on the Black community. This covert form of racism is especially harmful to the Black community, because these Black leadersno-assimilation are not operating with the Black community interests at heart. Their primary concern is to please their white officials. Ture and Hamilton emphasize the need to reject this structure! They do not promote the notion of, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” they want Black communities to stand alone and enforced community goals, even if it means sacrificing one’s status in the white community. Assimilation into the white community will never work.

The way this power structure can be slpblackpowerlogobigused to shift power in the Black community largely works through double consciousness. This idea is aided by empowering the Black community, obtaining true freedom, allowing us the right to define who we are as Black people and set our own agendas. Once we decolonize our minds, we will then have the capacity to educate the Black community based on reinforcing Black unity and Black power. The limitations to this structure unfortunately, is US. Enabling the white supremacist patriarchal heteronormative capitalist 101417603-white-privilege-1viewpoints through co-optation, assimilation and selling out, allows this structure to dictate our futures. Calling out white privilege and racism is a start. However, dismantling the system is necessary for a complete change. This cannot be accomplished over night, but maintain our voice and taking up space is a start.










Hamilton, Charles and Stokely Carmichael. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Print.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: